North Carolina's All Creatures Great and Small: A 'No-Kill' Shelter Expose
North Carolina's All Creatures Great and Small: A 'No-Kill' Shelter Expose
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Cruel Conditions Exposed

2006-07 Undercover Investigation Reveals Abuse and Neglect at All Creatures Great and Small

PETA conducted an undercover investigation into All Creatures Great and Small (ACGS) from August 2006 to February 2007. Not much had changed since we first learned about the plight of animals at ACGS; if anything, things had gotten even worse.

PETA's investigator documented that animals were suffering physically and emotionally as a result of ongoing, systematic abuse and neglect. In addition, the investigator observed that dogs, cats, and other animals were frequently left to languish in constant confinement and were deprived of veterinary care, in addition to a multitude of other atrocities.

Lack of Veterinary Care—Even for Severely Injured Animals
Among the dozens of untreated injuries documented by PETA's investigator, some of the most severe cases were those of three dogs: Riley, Cinder, and Ms. Murphy.

  • Riley was attacked by another dog, who bit Riley's tail off, leaving a bloody stump that eventually became infected. Riley's only documented "treatment" consisted of isolation in a filthy room (ironically referred to as "The Penthouse" by staff), where he was hidden from public view and left to suffer an open, festering wound that exposed his tailbone.
  • Cinder was also attacked by another dog, and her ear was nearly torn off. Cinder was discarded into the "laundry room" and, like Riley, never received care from a veterinarian for this wound.
  • Ms. Murphy suffered a crushed pelvis and a broken leg. After PETA's investigator brought this existing injury to the attention of facility operator Kim Kappler, more than two weeks passed before Ms. Murphy received any veterinary attention.

PETA's investigator repeatedly alerted Kappler and other facility supervisors about the dire condition of these dogs and others—but to no avail.

Inadequate Staffing and Structural Disrepair
During his employment at ACGS, PETA's investigator observed that other paid staff were drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana while on duty and sitting idle—sometimes for hours—while the animals they were supposed to tend to languished in filth. A small handful of staff at AGCS—who aren't all sober or willing to work—are expected to tend to nearly 700 animals; staffing levels do not allow for even minimally adequate care for animals.

"Riley is in terrible condition. His tail is a bloody stump with the insides all hanging out. He seems to be in excruciating pain, and yet Kim [Kappler, ACGS' facility operator] does nothing about it. She does not give him any pain medication, nor antibiotics. She also refuses to take him to the vet."
—PETA's investigator

Facility grounds were so overrun with rats that on one day, 11 dead rats were found in one outdoor pen. On another day, an employee was bitten by a rat as he tried to get the animal out of a cat cage!

During inspections in 2007, North Carolina Department of Agriculture (NCDA) inspectors found trash and debris strewn throughout the property. They noted that "untreated waste water piped from [a] toilet and washing machine into [a] large lagoon-like area" caused a noticeable odor throughout the facility.

PETA's investigator also noted many other abuses, including the following:

  • Dogs, cats, and other animals languish in confinement almost constantly. Dogs confined to outdoor pens compete for shelter, as there is just one—or sometimes two—dilapidated plastic doghouse in most pens. Each pen usually houses three to four dogs.
  • When it rains, the facility floods so severely that dogs housed in an area known as "The Hill" are trapped in standing water, mud, and debris.
  • Dogs caged inside the facility are warehoused in stacked wire or plastic crates, often without any food or water (apparently in an effort to control the amount of urine and feces).
  • PETA's investigator documented that ACGS ran out of food on a regular basis when management was too broke or "too busy" to buy more, leaving hundreds of animals hungry.
  • For dogs "stored" in the "Crate Room," water is only offered when the animals are outside their crates. Because there are nearly 400 dogs, a handful of staff, a few volunteers, and—volunteers told PETA—only two leashes on the property, "Crate Room" dogs often don't get to drink every day.
  • Bored, frightened, and frustrated, dogs at the facility bark and struggle to get out of their cages. Many are forced to sit in and smell their own waste. The din of constant barking is deafening, with dogs housed next door to and sometimes in the same room as the cats.
  • Dogs fence-fight incessantly and can bite and injure each other through kennel fencing. Dogs routinely break loose through holes in pens that are falling apart, and fights break out between dogs frequently—sometimes daily—whether the animals are loose or in designated pens. Most of the dogs, like Riley and Cinder, don't receive veterinary care for their wounds.
  • PETA's undercover video caught ACGS staff members and even Kappler on tape as they admitted to hitting dogs with a shovel and kicking dogs in an effort to break up the frequent fights—a cruel and ineffective way to deal with the larger problem.

To see highlights of the evidence gathered during PETA's investigation, check out our investigator's log notes, photo gallery, and video. Read eyewitness accounts from former ACGS volunteers and employees.

Legacy of Abuse »